Halloween Allergy Tips
- Prevalence of food allergies in children 1 in 25, and rising!
- Most common MILK, EGG, PEANUT and TREE NUTS.
- Peanut higher risk for severe reactions.
- Cross reaction between nuts and/or peanuts – about 35-40%
- High risk food/cuisine: bakery, dessert / ice cream stores, Asian, Mexican foods
- Up to one third of children with eczema may have sensitivities to foods
Tips to help have a safer Halloween
- Discard any food, candy without label, when in doubt “throw it out”
- Many chocolate candies may say: “may contain nuts”. Take this warning seriously and avoid this food!
- Consider food alternative venues, ie. Pumpkin carving, games and use of costumes and themes.
- Keep safe snacks on hand, helps avoid temptation.
- Learn how to de-code and interpret list of ingredients, in foods, and become a “label detective”. Share info with family and friends.
- Use reflective tape on clothes, bags, outerwear to increase visibility at night. Higher risk of accidents with cars and bicycles on Halloween eve.
- Avoid harsh face paints that may cause a skin rash. You can also do a pre-test, to ensure your child is not going to react to paint. and develop an irritation.
- Keep emergency medications such as asthma inhaler and/or EPI- PEN if your child has asthma, and/or food allergies.
- If your child has food allergies, have an early pre-Halloween dinner before you go out, to avoid temptation to try “unknown” foods.
- Consider giving out “safe” snacks and goodies to your neighbors and friends, beforeHalloween begins for greater safety.
- Teach your child to politely say: “NO” to home prepared baked foods, without clear, proper food lablels.
- Make sure that holiday masks are not too tight that may interfere with breathing, particularly if your child has asthma.
- Remember, smaller sized candy for Halloween may have different ingredients, as compared to the regular, full sized versions.
Hidden ingredients that you may encounter during Halloween and the holidays
- Any chocolate candy may indicate that it was prepared on equipment that also processed peanuts and nuts. Be aware!
- Baked goods that have a shiny appearance frequently is a tip off that it contains “egg products”. Egg is sometimes found in macaroni, marshmallows, and pasta.
- Sauces, puddings, salad dressings, gravies and chili may contain peanut, nut, milk, egg, soy, fish and wheat.
- BBQ or steak sauce may frequently contain nut and/or fish (anchovy).
- Milk (casein) can sometimes be found in canned tuna, in deli meats, hot dog, chocolate, baked goods, caramel candy, artificial butter flavor, as well as margarine.
- Some not cold pressed cooking oils may contain peanut allergen.
- Asian foods may often contain peanut, ie. egg roll, mole, baked goods such as cakes, cookies. Wheat may also be found in soy sauce as well as couscous. One can find peanut or nut oils in various cosmetics, such as shaving cream, lipstick, etc.
See an allergist for a food allergy/safety action plan so you and your family can enjoy a safe, yet fun Halloween!
www.allergyepidemic.com, and twitter @allergyreliefny (for daily allergy strategies and tips!)